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TEXRail test runs continue as more funding aboard

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TEXRail Stations

TEXRail as planned will have nine stations:

· Texas & Pacific (T&P, existing)

· Intermodal Transportation Center (existing)

· North Side, Fort Worth

· Mercantile Center, Fort Worth

· North Richland Hills/Iron Horse

· North Richland Hills/Smithfield

· Grapevine/Main Street

· DFW Airport North

· DFW Airport Terminal B

“We are open to extending the line, but that would be dependent on funding,” TEXRail spokeswoman Laura Hanna said, adding that there has been discussion of someday continuing the route southwest to the Medical

District and the Texas Christian University area.

www.texrail.com/

Fort Worth is getting closer to a new high-speed rail service, with TEXRail set to launch in January. In the meantime, test runs continue throughout the Fort Worth area.

TEXRail will be a 27-mile commuter line that operates between downtown Fort Worth and Terminal B at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Besides the two downtown stations and two airport stations, six new stations will be built along the route, including two others in Fort Worth, two in North Richland Hills and two in Grapevine.

One of those who is looking forward to the service is TEXRail Senior Vice President Bob Baulsir.

“TEXRail offers the opportunity for travelers to leave the car behind and enjoy the ride without stressing about traffic,” he said. “As a downtown resident and frequent traveler, I can’t wait to enjoy a 48-minute ride to the airport without doing the white-knuckle drive and worrying about what time I will arrive for my flight. I’ll be in the quiet car with my book until we pull into Terminal B.”

The sleek European design of the Stadler FLIRT 3 (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) is a new look for this region, and the model being used for TEXRail is the first of its kind in the United States.

And now TEXRail is getting even more funding. TEXRail officials have announced that an additional $100 million has been apportioned for TEXRail as part of the $499.39 million full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration. To date, $350 million has been apportioned to Trinity Metro, TEXRail’s builder.

The agreement, which was signed in December 2016, provides nearly half of the funding for the $1.034 billion rail project. The other half comes from local sources.

“We appreciate our federal representatives and their insight to help us secure the funding for this project,” Baulsir said. “A key component for successful projects like TEXRail is having all of the financial backing in place.”

Each TEXRail train will be equipped with a quiet car, bike racks, USB charging ports, seatback trays and level boarding to make it easy for passengers with strollers, bicycles or wheelchairs.

TEXRail has already had a significant economic impact on the region, Baulsir said. Transit-oriented development along the route is already under way. North Richland Hills has residential and retail development plans for both of its stations, and Grapevine has broken ground on a $105 million development that includes a boutique hotel by Marriott.

And to make sure everything is running efficiently, the test runs will continue, Baulsir said.

“The test runs are both for quality assurance and to satisfy regulatory requirements. During this phase, additional crews are qualified to operate on the route,” he said.

TEXRail will have eight train sets, three of which have already arrived, Baulsir said. Five more are being completed in Salt Lake City and will be delivered by the end of the year, he added. Of the eight, six will be full-time train sets and two in reserve. Each train will have 229 seats and can accommodate 488 passengers.

The equipment maintenance facility, where the trains will be housed and maintained, was completed in the spring. The 27-acre site contains a 53,000-square-foot facility.

As for the proposed schedule, the first train will leave the T&P station downtown at 3:31 a.m. daily and arrive at the airport’s Terminal B at 4:22 a.m. The last train will leave the airport on weekdays at 1 a.m. and arrive at T&P at 1:51 a.m. Trains will run 365 days a year with 72 trips per day.

By the end of the first year, Baulsir said, TEXRail anticipates providing 8,000 rides per day.

A VIP run is planned for New Year’s Eve. The first official service is set to begin on Jan. 5.

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